The DADT Compromise Doesn’t Bode Well For Tougher Fights Down The Line

By Ali Frick

Today CNN released a poll showing that nearly 80 percent of Americans favor repealing DADT and allowing gay and lesbian Americans to serve in the military. Eighty percent! (Well, 78 percent, to be precise.)

At the same time, the White House and Pentagon have reached a deal with Congress to effectively repeal DADT — but not really and not right away, and without saying so. The deal is that Congress will add to the defense authorization bill, possibly as early as this week, that repeal of DADT will become final, but only after the Pentagon’s review of the policy, which is supposed to end in December. Ambinder explains:

The repeal will be on the books, but policy won’t change until certain thresholds are crossed. Those thresholds happen to be the same conditions that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen (C/CJS) had already set — no impact on readiness, recruitment, effectiveness, retention, and unit cohesiveness.

Essentially, Congress will simply give back authority to the President to set the policy on gays in the military — and only after a sort of 6–8 month waiting period.


Don’t get me wrong, this is a huge and needed victory. It adds to the large and growing list of ridiculously impressive accomplishments of this Congress and this Administration. But if this is the best they can do, the quickest they can act, in the face of support from eighty percent of Americans, how can we possibly expect financial reform with teeth, or climate change legislation, to have a prayer?